The oscillating Plumeria branch over the tall compound wall drew my attention. The branch of Plumeria is too rigid to be moved by a breeze.It was a calm morning very recently. The tailorbirds tweeted from the other greenery to add charm to my morning coffee, which was in my left hand. The right hand was watering the garden plants with a small container.
We lovingly grow our favourite flowering plants with all care, attention and expense of money, but esp. when they are near the compound wall, they are exposed to easy thieving.
The sun had emerged on the horizon, the the chosen time of wretched flower thieves who walk the streets, armed with a small stiff wire hook and plastic carry bag. Our plumeria had 2-3 fresh flowers that had opened a couple of days before. I had even photographed a long shot of it. See flowers circled red in this picture.
Ours is a corner plot. I scurried to the front yard and looked over the wall just as that branch stopped oscillating. There SHE was, walking along, with her hook and loot. Of course, the flowers had disappeared when I checked. They were now in her bag!
May be what also prompted me to come up with this post was a "Right in the Middle" piece the very next day in our newspaper. But I had a seed in my mind to do this some day, anyhow.
Many have blogged and many have written on this subject which only tells how ubiquitous these inhuman buggers are.
Since decent requests failed horribly, I frown, give a dirty look and even shout at their nasty habit. Yet, they go about their business absolutely shamelessly. They teach us how to be 'thick-skinned'. There was an old man who used to polish off flowers within his and his tool's reach that garden lovers grew so fondly. He used to loot just before dawn and the street light was enough for him. I had watched his timing pattern as I used to get up early for my morning walks. One day, I caught him stealing our beautiful red hibiscus over the old compound wall which was not high. "You are such an aged fellow and you are doing this.... are you not ashamed? Does your Lord ask for thieved flowers?" I shouted with an angry, unhappy tone, giving scant respect. He continued to steal and he was not deaf. He walked off with his tool and loot, as if nothing had happened. These old rascals are damn determined to loot.
Similarly, another elderly lady was doing the same after the compound wall had been 'talled' by a couple of feet as the century-old structure was insufficient for privacy, taking into account the increase and type of 'life' outside. I used to shout from across the wall on seeing her tool pulling the tender branches visible. "Aren't you ashamed to steal flowers like this for God?; Does God demand such flowers taken in this manner?" I knew she would pass in front of the house and I would wait to throw her another dirty look. They are so stubborn. Nothing affects them.
So one morning I decided to teach her a small lesson as she was also stealing these pink flowers besides the hibiscus, from outside. Picture below. Front gate.
I knew her time pattern too as I used to be in the garden often early in the mornings. I had kept my tool ready. It was a "counter-hook"! I was waiting for the opportunity, under the Podranea Pink vine growing up the huge old gate pillar. It was a nice corner for this plant. As expected, I felt the top of the vine disturbed by the hook from the opposite side. I held her hook with mine! I pulled tight! She was totally unnerved by this unexpected catch! She could guess it was me having been the recipient of my frowns and shouts on more than half a dozen occasions. "Ayyo, leave it. Ayyo, leave it. Flowers only for God, what happens if I pluck? Leave the hook, leave the hook."! I gave a powerful jerk and then left it, passing my anger to the other hook in that manner and also shouting "Have not I told you not to touch our plants again?".
In the coming weeks she would murmur abuses against me as she passed by, itching to pluck! The new gates installed by the new owner of the plot was a hindrance to her hook's reach, not long after.
Even now she walks by with her tools, looking sheepishly if I am around and hesitating if she should attempt to reach for the flowers there. There, she is the one! I have caught her on frame now. The plastic cover full of thieved flowers are in her left hand - not seen, but the hook is visible.
Beware of these merciless and shameless thieves who care six hoots about who grows flowers or with how much love they were grown.